What is the Rambutan?
The rambutan fruit derives its name from the Malay Indonesian word “rambut” which means hair and is a reference to the appearance of this unusual looking fruit. It is an exotic fruit indigenous to the tropical Malay countries and some parts of Southeast Asia. However, cultivation of the rambutan fruit has spread to other parts of the world experiencing hot climates. Famers of this exotic fruit can be found in parts of Central America, Africa as well as other locations that have the tropical climate that is vital for the plant to thrive. The tree where the fruit grows is known by the same name and grows to a height of about 20 meters.
Appearance and Taste
Unfamiliar to most people, the rambutan fruit resembles a sea urchin and belongs to the same family as the lychee fruit. Almost the size of a berry, the fruit’s shape is round to oval with a hairy reddish skin that is sometimes orange or yellow. Peeling the skin reveals a moist translucent to whitish flesh and a single seed.
Like most people, I was also clueless about this exotic fruit until I came across beautifully curated images on Instagram that had me drooling before they could educate me on what the small, hairy fruit was. The rambutan has a taste that is reminiscent of grapes, sweet with a slight hint of sour.
Nutritional Value and Benefits
There has been an increasing demand for rambutans which has seen more people are becoming aware of the fruit as well as its benefits. An incredibly delectable and juicy little pack don’t let the size of this mysterious fruit fool you. This is because despite its size the rambutan is jam-packed with a decent amount of the essential minerals and vitamins that aid in promoting your body’s health.
Like most fruits, the rambutan contains an extensive amount of Vitamin C which plays an important role in your body and is essential for the body’s optimal function. Vitamin C is believed to be responsible for a lot including; synthesis of collagen, strengthening your immunity as well as boosting the production of glutathione which is the body’s “main antioxidant”. Other compounds found in the rambutan have been linked to benefits such as boosting your energy, promoting bone and heart health, prevention of cancer and better digestive health.
But that is not all. Aside from the fruit, other parts of the rambutan tree are also said to be useful as well. These include the bark, leaves, the seeds and even the peel of the fruit. The leaves are thought to contain healing juices and be effective painkillers due to their analgesic property. The bark can treat sore wounds because of its astringent properties. The peel can be eaten raw after washing and contains Gallic acid, flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly the seeds have numerous proteins and carbs and can be a great snack. However, one must be careful with the seeds and not consume them raw as they contain toxic compounds. We recommend that you roast or even boil the seeds to rid them of toxins should choose to consume them but keep in mind that there isn’t enough research out there to back this up.
Information of the rambutan is still far and few between and if you choose to consume it, do it purely for enjoyment and not the claims associated with it. You can add it to your to your curries, fruit salad or even use it to flavor and garnish your cocktails
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